ConceptDraw Office mini review

ConceptDraw Office is a set of programs from CS Odessa (Computer Systems Odessa) which would indicate Ukraine origins.

There are three integrated components MindMap, Project and Draw (Pro) which can be purchased individually or as the combined (cheaper package) as ConceptDraw Office.

MindMap is just that and is really useful for brainstorming sessions and such like, however it's also pretty good for say putting a product launch together, working out what needs to go after what and different branches of what needs doing. The whole thing can then be exported into Project which will then produce a project plan. It will still need tweaking (for timescales/resources and such like) but there's the basics done for you.

Project is actually very similar to Microsoft Project, but CS Odessa have their InGyre system which allows the different tools to work together.

Concept Draw is similar to Microsoft Visio (and can import Visio files as can Project import MS Project files) it's also similar to Corel Draw, it can produce organisation charts, network diagrams and simple object drawing. Again it can link into ConceptDraw Project and MindMap.

There's both Windows and Mac versions available (where as Microsoft products are only available on Windows).

ConceptDraw isn't cheap (the package retails for £339) but you do get 3 solid packages for that and they're invaluable if you're a Mac user.

They can be purchased here

It's all looking Pink for Plink

Google have just acquired UK art search company Plink.

Plink's technology allows users to point their phone at a work of art and take a picture which will then link to the original artwork (and prints etc can be purchased). Plink were finalists in Google's Android Developer Challenge, winning $100,000.

Mark Cummins and partner James Philbin who founded Plink will move over to Google and work on Google's Goggles application utilising the back-end Plink technology for that platform.

The Android app is still available for download, though development of it will no longer take place.

UK Election delays spectrum auction again

The Government managed to push through the controversial Digital Economy Bill, but in doing so failed to make time for things such as spectrum liberalisation and these will now have to wait until the next Government is in power.

This means that the plans to auction the 2.6GHz (2600MHz) band are still on hold until at least mid 2011 (or later) as well the prized 800MHz band. There is also no decision with respect to GSM refarming (O2 and Vodafone have spectrum in 900MHz and Orange and T-Mobile in 1.8GHz). The situation is already muddied by the merge of T-Mobile and Orange who as a single company have too much spectrum (as per the original licenses).

It's likely that T-Mobile/Orange will have to relinquish some of their 1.8GHz spectrum and maybe some of their 2.5GHz spectrum, but they will also fight to get hold of some of the 900HMz spectrum (which has much better transmission characteristics than 1.8GHz).

As there is no Government at all, the above decisions are all on hold, though T-Mobile/Orange are now in breach of their license conditions, there's nothing that can be done until the next Government is elected and Ofcom can then propose changes in the law (i.e. currently the GSM bands are ONLY allowed to be used for GSM services and not 3G services) which will then be enacted into law by the use of Standard Instruments.

The UK was way ahead of the market when it first proposed auctioning the 2.6GHz spectrum (2007/2008) but now even Germany has sorted it's issues and has licensed the band.